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I Wish I Had a Wookiee

I Wish I Had a Wookiee

I Wish I Had a Wookiee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wish I Had a Wookiee

Ian Doescher

Tim Bugden

Quirk Books, 2021

128pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781594749629

The timing of writing this review is one of those serendipitous moments that seem to happen every now and then.  

Looking at my growing pile of review books I closed my eyes and selected one at random and pulled out one I had looked at and rejected a few times because, not being a Star Wars fan, I had no idea what it was about.  That was until a conversation around the breakfast table this morning when talk turned to favourite series and my family, being who they are, each had Star Wars at the top of their lists and Miss 10 declared she would like an AT-AT! “My response was, “Whatever that is…” and so I was informed.

So when this literally was a chance selection from the pile and the blurb says that, “In these pages you’ll meet a ten-year-old [the same age as my wishful thinker] who dreams of playing fetch with an AT-AT…” I knew it was meant to be.

But still being in the dark about such an alien world even though I am surrounded by its greatest fans, I will have to rely on the publisher’s blurb for the precis… “Inspired by the beloved world of Star Wars, and in the tradition of She; Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, this collection of over 75 whimsical and original poems is a celebration of childhood, creativity, imagination, and the early years of Star Wars fandom.

In “My Pet AT-AT,” a ten-year-old dreams of playing hide and seek and fetch with an AT-AT. In “Dad’s Luke Skywalker Figurine,” a child opens their dad’s untouched action figure but, instead of getting into trouble, helps their dad re-discover his own sense of play. In “T-16 Dreams,” a little girl imagines herself flying through the galaxy, the Empire hot on her trail, to help with her real-world fear of flying.

Set in the hearts and minds of young children who love Star Wars, and filled with the characters you know and love, I Wish I Had a Wookiee is the perfect gift for the young Star Wars fan—and the young at heart”

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Each poem is accompanied by a quirky illustration but as well as drawing on the familiar characters for the focus, many touch on issues important and relevant to the age group so they are more than just ditties.  For example, A Galaxy of Families begins…

Stan’s mom and dad adopted Stan

And loved him totally

Like Bail and Breha welcomed Leia

To their family. 

It continues with other less-than-traditional relationships highlighting the diverse nature of family units these days, each one resonating with a reader somewhere.

But the greatest recommendation is that from Miss 10, currently curled up reading the poems, having abandoned her phone’s screen and enjoying poetry for the first time.  Usually, you take statements such as “the perfect gift” as publisher’s hype but in this case, it’s true.  I could have given her nothing better. 

 

Space Detectives

Space Detectives

Space Detectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Space Detectives

Mark Powers

Dapo Adeola

Bloomsbury, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526603180

Connor and Ethan are spending their summer holidays aboard the world’s first orbiting city, Starville , a gigantic space station sailing silently as it orbits Earth and home to over a million humans and aliens. This single city,  brimming with skyscrapers, parks and even an artificial sea is enclosed by a huge, strong glass dome  like a vast snow globe, and is bursting with celebrities and the mega-rich. But Connor and Ethan are too busy selling ice cream to see the sights.

However, neither of our heroes can resist a mystery -they had solved many back home on Earth – and when they discover the space station is hurtling on a collision course with the moon they know they need to step in. This is a case for the SPACE DETECTIVES!

Can Connor and Ethan find the culprit and save Starville from its impending doom?

Fitting perfectly into this year’s CBCA Book Week theme of Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds, this is a new series for young, newly independent readers who like the idea of a mystery mixed with science fiction so anything can happen.  And concluding with an epilogue that sets up their next adventure it promises to deliver for those who like to get to know their heroes better as the series unfolds. 

When someone recently asked for recommendations for series for this demographic to help them consolidate skills and grow their reading, all the old-familiars were suggested – many popular when I was in the library full-time 20 years ago- and while they remain quality reads, this is a new series that could be added to the list. It has all the right ingredients to engage those young lads looking for excitement and adventure. 

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

Denis Knight & Cristy Burne

Lothian Children’s, 2021

250pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

 9780734420190 

Wednesday Weeks never wanted to be a sorcerer’s apprentice. She’d rather study science than magic. But when her cloak-wearing, staff-wielding grandpa is captured by a power-hungry goblin king, Wednesday must find a way to embrace her magical heritage and rescue him from the dreaded Tower of Shadows.

Luckily, she’s not alone. Her best friend Alfie is a prime-number fan and robotics expert who’s all-in on Wednesday’s epic plan involving parallel universes, swords of power, and a wise-cracking talking skull.

But it’s going to take more than science, magic, and the world’s cutest robot to take down this bad guy. Because the goblin king is playing for the ultimate prize – and Wednesday and Alfie just walked into his trap…

In a world of magic, can science save the day?

Independent readers who love a story that combines magic and science with great adventure will adore this new series that does just that.  Drawing on the skills of Knight who loves science fiction and fantasy, and Burne who loves science and who has a mission to ” blend STEM and creativity to enthuse, engage and empower” this is a story featuring a smart, feisty female and her best friend who find themselves having to use real-life science to save themselves from the predicament they get into as they travel the Nine Realms, inspiring the reader to perhaps take a greater interest themselves.  This is made possible with the addition of a few activities included at the end of the book and with several more in the teachers’ resources, it is an ideal story to promote to your science and maths enthusiasts. 

Described as being perfect for those who love  Nevermoor, Artemis Fowl and The Witching Hours, the even better news is that Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny, the second in the series, will be out in September, so not long to wait.  

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

James Hart

Puffin. 2021

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

 9781760895143

Zeek and Arnie are best friends. They do everything together. They love solving problems, inventing, playing video games, coding, reading comics, cooking (mostly Arnie) and planning WORLD DOMINATION (mostly Zeek). 

In the second in this series,  Zeek and Arnie hear about a heap of TREASURE at the edge of the world, so they decide to investigate. Zeek wants to use the treasure to fund his quest for WORLD DOMINATION! But how will they get there? After using their inventing skills to build a ship, the Enchilada, they sail off with Eleanor. But there’s trouble brewing on the horizon . . . What will Zeek and Arnie find at the edge of the world? Will it be TREASURE or TROUBLE? And . . . are they really alone?

The graphic novel format of this book with a minimum of text carrying the story along at a fast pace will appeal to those who prefer screen to print and who, themselves, relate to the geekiness of the boys.  Those who enjoyed the first in the series will appreciate not having had to wait too long to meet their friends again and join in another madcap adventure. 

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Geeks 1: Fish and Chips

James Hart

Puffin, 2021

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760895129

Zeek and Arnie are best friends. They do everything together. They love solving problems, inventing, playing video games, coding, reading comics, cooking (mostly Arnie) and planning WORLD DOMINATION (mostly Zeek).

But when Zeek puts a microchip in Arnie’s pet fish, Eleanor, things go horribly wrong . . . A super-intelligent Eleanor decides she’s going to become the supreme ruler of the world.

How will Zeek and Arnie stop Eleanor’s fish-bot army and prevent this power-hungry fish from achieving WORLD DOMINATION?

This is a new series likely to appeal to those who prefer screens and coding to print because it crosses both borders.  James Hart is the illustrator behind a number of popular series including Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables but this is debut as an author. The graphic novel format is ideal for the intended audience and the story moves along at a fast clip that has characters readers can identify with and lots of humour.

Something to offer those boys you are trying to reach out to. 

 

Max Booth Future Sleuth – Chip Blip

Max Booth Future Sleuth - Chip Blip

Max Booth Future Sleuth – Chip Blip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Max Booth Future Sleuth – Chip Blip

Cameron Macintosh

Dave Atze

Big Sky, 2020

130pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781922265685

The Max Booth Future Sleuth books follow the adventures of 25th-century detective, Max, and his slightly neurotic robo-dog, Oscar, as they investigate objects from the ancient past – the long-lost 20th and 21st centuries. In this one, the fifth in the series, Max and Oscar discover a tiny device about the size of a grain of rice – an ID chip from 400 years previously in the 21st century. But, as in all their adventures investigating items from that distant past (and the reader’s present) there are those who are also interested and their presence looms. 

This is a series for younger capable readers who enjoy sci-fi, but appreciate the connection to their own world to keep the story and their understanding grounded. It also offers opportunities for reflection about how we live and the things we use and do and how these might be viewed in the future. Fast-paced, it offers something different that might open up the world and genre of sci-fi for young readers who aren’t yet ready for the plethora of post-apocalypse literature that is becoming so prevalent in YA lit these days. 

 

 

 

 

Weird Little Robots

Weird Little Robots

Weird Little Robots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Little Robots

Carolyn Crimi

Corinna Luyken

Walker Books, 2020

240pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781406387988

In a new town with only the robots she creates in a sagging backyard shed from the treasure she finds on her walks for company, it only takes a little bit of magic to change everything for eleven-year-old Penny Rose. With her new friend Lark – an eccentric tinkerer herself – the promise of joining a secret science club and her newly sentient robots, Penny Rose can’t imagine how she was ever lonely. But a fateful misstep means Penny Rose will have to choose between the club she’s always dreamed of and the best friend she’d always hoped for. And in the end, it may be her beloved little robots who pay the price

As the world waits in anticipation of the first manned space launch from US soil in nearly a decade, it is a very different one from the one I remember in 1969 as we waited for the launch of Apollo 11 and man’s attempt to land on the moon. In those days, it was very much man’s attempt for science, on the surface, appeared to be a man’s world – certainly very little, if any, public recognition was given to the women behind  the scenes. But this engaging, 21st century novel demonstrates so many changes the world has seen in those 50 years, not the least of which being that my granddaughter can openly engage in her passion for science, technology and construction and read about herself in a mainstream novel, The dreams I had for her in 69 have come true, not that at the age of 18 I was projecting myself forward to being a grandmother!  But for those of us with an interest in “boys’ subjects” at high school but who had been directed down other paths simply because of our gender, reading a book like this would not have been possible. 

Written for independent readers, there are indications that Penny Rose could be on the autism spectrum but even so, neither that nor her passion for science overwhelms that key theme of friendship and the choices that have to be made, that are so important to that age group.  Miss Amost-14, while still passionately interested in science and its possibilities, has moved beyond these sorts of illustrated novels, but had this been available three years ago she would have loved it!

Star Wars: Meet the Heroes and Villains (series)

Star Wars: Heroes & Villains

Star Wars: Heroes & Villains

 

 

 

 

 

Star Wars: Meet the Heroes and Villains (series)

Chewbacca

Ruth Amos

9780241387795

Darth Vader

Ruth Amos

9780241392089

DK, 2019

64pp., hbk., RRP $A9.99

May the 4th and what more appropriate date to review the new Star Wars series from DK as we celebrate 42 years of this enduring series, and even moreso because of the recent death  of Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca. Even more fitting, the first of four in this series which introduces young readers to the key characters of the franchise, features Chewbacca and they can learn of his journey from Han’s smuggling sidekick, to loyal Rebel fighter and co-pilot to Rey in the Millennium Falcon.  They can discover the languages he speaks, why he makes howling noises, which planet he comes from and what makes him lose his temper.

Similarly, they can meet one of the most famous villains of film, Darth Vader and discover who he is; how he becomes a Sith; and why he wears a mask. They can learn fun facts about Sith Lord Darth Vader – including his amazing battles with rebels and Jedi heroes Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker! and follow his journey from Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force alongside Darth Sidious. Discover what Force tricks Vader uses, who he works for, which lightsaber he uses, and what planet his secret base is on.

Featuring a simple Q&A format using child friendly language this series, which also includes the lovable R2D2  and the sinister Stormtroopers   includes movie stills from the original trilogy, prequels and the latest sequels, allowing young readers to explore the amazing world of far, far away and a time long, long ago which continues to capture and fascinate their parents and grandparents!

This series can introduce them to the people and places and have them well-prepared for the upcoming release of the ninth and final episode of the film franchise, Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker in December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse The Official Guide

Marvel Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse The Official Guide

Marvel Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse The Official Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse The Official Guide

Shari Last

DK, 2018

96pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9780241347843

 

“Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker, he soon realizes that there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.”

This is the synopsis of the new Spider-Man movie about to be released in Australia on December 26 and so this official guide to the story and the new characters will be a must-have in any fan’s Christmas stocking.  They can discover everything they ever wanted to know about his astonishing costume, loyal allies and frightening enemies, and find out about his amazing origin story and his fiercest clashes as  he juggles high school life with his status as a Super Hero.

Written in graphic novel format crossed with the usual DK clarity for accessing information, this is the perfect way to combine what is likely to be a blockbuster movie with the power of print to provide more information, particularly as reviews from the movie suggest it is likely to be very popular these holidays.

LEGO Star Wars Choose Your Path

Lego Star Wars Choose Your Path

Lego Star Wars Choose Your Path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEGO Star Wars Choose Your Path

Simon Hugo

DK, 2018

125pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780241313824

What more fitting book to review for May the 4th than one with a Star Wars theme? Even though it is not released till May 28, there is no harm in building up anticipation for something new and different that is going to encourage even the most reluctant of readers to explore.

With the book comes protocol droid U-3PO, a small toy suitable for those 6+, who accompanies the adventures, gives advice and maybe even leads the adventurer astray. The reader chooses one of three quests- Hunt the Sith, Fight the Empire or Defeat the First Order – and then sets off to achieve it while meeting favourite characters and creatures, travelling in awesome vehicles as they move from planet to planet, all the while remaining in charge of the journey as they select the route according to the choices on offer.  

Along the way there are photos, facts and figures and information about a range of incredible Lego models that can be purchased – Star Wars fans like my son are so easy to buy for! –  as well as challenges to build new, original models.

The power of choose-you-own-adventure has long been proven as an inducement to read and discover, so to combine it with both Star Wars and Lego is just genius.  Perfect for that collaborative reading that young boys who are verging on independence love and need, or for any Star Wars fan.